Fund Objective

The L Funds, or "Lifecycle" funds, use professionally determined investment mixes that are tailored to meet investment objectives based on various time horizons. The objective is to strike an optimal balance between the expected risk and return associated with each fund.

Investment Strategy

The L Funds' strategy is to invest in an appropriate mix of the G, F, C, S, and I Funds for a particular time horizon, or target retirement date. The investment mix of each L Fund becomes more conservative as its target date approaches.

The strategy assumes that:

  • The greater the number of years you have until retirement, the more willing and able you are to tolerate risk (fluctuation) in your TSP account value to pursue higher rates of return.
  • For a given risk level and time horizon, there is an optimal mix of the G, F, C, S, and I Funds that provides the highest expected return.

Fund Composition

Each of the L Funds has a target asset allocation. In other words, each is made up of the combination of the five individual TSP funds (G, F, C, S, and I) that maintains an optimal balance of investment risks and rewards for a particular time horizon.

Each quarter, the L Funds' target asset allocations change, moving towards a less risky mix of investments as the target date approaches. So if you are invested in one of the L Funds, you will notice that as you get closer to your target date, your allocation to the riskier TSP funds will get smaller while your allocation to the more conservative G Fund gets larger.

The rate of change in the target asset allocation is small when the L Fund target dates are in the distant future. The rate increases as the funds approach their target dates. For a visual representation of how the asset allocations change over time, click the individual L Fund tabs at the top of this page.

Fund Operation

When an L Fund has reached its target date, it will be rolled into the L Income Fund.

The L Income Fund:

  • Is the most conservative of the L Funds.
  • Focuses on capital preservation while providing a small exposure to the TSP's riskier assets (C, S, and I Funds) in order to reduce inflation's effect on your purchasing power.
  • Is designed to produce current income for participants who plan to start withdrawing from their TSP accounts in the near future and for those who are already receiving monthly payments from their accounts.
  • Has a set asset allocation that does not change over time.

The progression from a target date L Fund to the L Income Fund is automatic.

New Lifecycle funds will be added for distant target dates as they are needed.

Risks

When you invest in the L Funds:

  • You are subject to the investment risks associated with the G, F, C, S, and I funds.
  • Your account is not guaranteed against loss. The L Funds can have periods of gain and loss, just as the individual TSP funds do.

Rewards

The L Funds simplify fund selection. You choose the fund that is closest to your target date (or, if your target date falls between the target dates that are offered, you can split your account between the two target date funds closest to your time horizon).

When you invest in the L Funds:

  • You can be sure that your TSP account is broadly diversified.
  • You don't have to remember to adjust your investment mix as your target date approaches — it's done for you.

How Can I Use the L Funds in my TSP Account?

Use the L Funds if you are looking for a simple, low maintenance way of investing money in your TSP account. The L Funds make the investing process easy for you because you do not have to figure out how to diversify your account or how and when to rebalance.

The L Funds are designed so that 100% of your TSP account can be invested in the single L Fund that most closely matches your time horizon (or in the two L Funds closest to your time horizon). Any other use of the L Funds may result in a greater amount of risk in your portfolio than is necessary in order to achieve the same expected rate of return.

How to Invest in the L Funds

Determine the date when, after leaving Federal service, you will need the money that is in your TSP account. Then identify the L Fund that matches your target date:

Choose If your target date is:
L 2050 2045 or later
L 2040 2035 through 2044
L 2030 2025 through 2034
L 2020 2015 through 2024
L Income If you are already withdrawing your account in monthly payments or expect to begin withdrawing before 2015

To invest in the L Fund of your choice:

  • Use your TSP account number or User ID and your Web password to access the My Account section of this website. You can also call the ThriftLine.
  • Request a contribution allocation to direct new money coming into your account (from payroll contributions, agency contributions if you are a FERS employee, transfers into the TSP, or loan payments) to be invested in an L Fund. Be aware that a contribution allocation will not change how the money that already exists in your account is distributed.
  • Request an interfund transfer to move money that already exists in your TSP account into one of the L Funds. It is a one-time transaction that affects your existing balance. Interfund transfers have no effect on new money coming into your account.

Need more info?
For more detailed information about the L Funds, see the L Funds Information Sheet.
Automatic Adjustment
The progression from a target date L Fund to the L Income Fund is automatic.